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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have had some very good help on this board regarding finishing with poly and varnish.

I wanted to try something without a varnish next time.

Does any one know a layman's list of pros and cons for using oil vs wax...? I am using pine, poplar and/or oak, and I want to stain the wood before oiling or waxing.

many thanks and take care
c
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi there,

I plan to make a bookcase and then a pie safe type piece.

I have made a coffee table with varnish/poly and though i used semi gloss, it still came out (finally!) quite shiny and I am not sure I like the "plastic coating" look that poly and varnish are giving the stained wood.

many thanks
c
 

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Cole Deer said:
Hi there,

I plan to make a bookcase and then a pie safe type piece.

I have made a coffee table with varnish/poly and though i used semi gloss, it still came out (finally!) quite shiny and I am not sure I like the "plastic coating" look that poly and varnish are giving the stained wood.

many thanks
c
I'm with you on the plastic looking finish. My advice to you is to use a gloss finish and rub it out to the amount of shine or sheen you want. Semi and satins are just muddied up with flattening agents. These cloud the finish to reduce the shine. Which also reduces the sharpness of the wood grain. I use pumice stone and non blooming oil to take away the shine. Even hitting it with steel wool would leave a better looking finish and it will look like a million bucks. Rub it out with steel wool and paste wax together and buff. you'll love it.

Al

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Hi there,
I am not sure I like the "plastic coating" look that poly and varnish are giving the stained wood.

many thanks
c
The "plastic" look comes from most products that have a polyurethane, or urethane resin in them. There are varnishes made with other resins that do not have the plastic look. An alkyd resin or phenolic resin varnish looks mush nicer (to my eyes anyway). The popularity of the urethane in varnish and finishes is probably more related to a lower cost than any other reason. Try Pratt and Lambert 38 (alkyd resin/soya oil formula, and my favorite) or the Sherwin Williams Fast Dry Oil Varnish (alkyd resin/linseed oil formula). Waterlox Original is a Phenolic resin formula, and I think it's uses tung oil as the drying oil. All varnishes are just resins and oils (and magic ingredients) cooked together, the result is varnish. IMHO almost anything is better than the poly formulas. One other suggestion: get a copy of Bob Flexner's book on finishing...I believe it's should be required in any hobbyist wood shop. Very easy to read, and well written...it covers your question about oils and wax.
 

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Fred, you and I think along the exact same lines.:thumbsup:
I only use a urethane product (wiping) on surfaces that might/will be used roughly.
Other projects don't deserve "crapithane".
Well said sir.
Bill
 

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>>>> pros and cons for using oil vs wax.

About the only positive regarding either wax or a true oil is that it is easy to apply.

However, neither finish is very protective or durable. Neither provides any resistant to moisture (water vapor) or most chemicals. To maintain its appearance, one must fairly frequently refresh the finsih.

Let me suggest that you purchase Bob Flexner's Understanding Wood Finishing. Amazon will have it. It is the "bible" of wood finishes and finishing. It will describe all the different finishes along with their advantages and disadvantages. It will also describe the steps of finishing and how to best apply the finsihes.
 

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HowardAcheson said:
>>>> pros and cons for using oil vs wax.

About the only positive regarding either wax or a true oil is that it is easy to apply.

However, neither finish is very protective or durable. Neither provides any resistant to moisture (water vapor) or most chemicals. To maintain its appearance, one must fairly frequently refresh the finsih.

Let me suggest that you purchase Bob Flexner's Understanding Wood Finishing. Amazon will have it. It is the "bible" of wood finishes and finishing. It will describe all the different finishes along with their advantages and disadvantages. It will also describe the steps of finishing and how to best apply the finsihes.
Please allow me to disagree. The wipe on varnish may not "test" out hard but consider this. It soaks in far deeper and bonds with more wood thereby making the wood harder. This in fact does make a hard durable finish. It also gives you a larger amount of the wood that is protected. Thicker in the right direction. Down in instead of a film on top. If you flood the first coat beyond what the back of the can says. You will apply a very protective base which is half the battle. It's also more flexible and far better suited for the wood itself. I would also have to say the grain and wood look so much more defined too. The first coat flood is the key.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.

Hardwood Table Floor Wood Wood stain

This table is the everyday table. I also aged the cherry with a lye treatment to match the rest of the furniture that's 25 years older.
 

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Al, help me out a little. Howard was addressing oils and wax, and you mentioned wiping varnish in your disagreement. Hardly a disagreement if you compare 2 totally different finishes???? What did I not see?
 

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Please allow me to disagree. The wipe on varnish may not "test" out hard but consider this. It soaks in far deeper and bonds with more wood thereby making the wood harder. This in fact does make a hard durable finish.
The original poster was asking about oil (which I assumed to be a true oil like linseed or tung) and wax. A wipe-on varnish is not an oil finish. Its just a thinned varnish. At best it penetrates only a very small amount more than a full strength varnish. Once the thinner evaporates, you are left with the same finish as a full strength finish.
 

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Here is a list of "varnish" type finishes. I thought one of these might be what the OP was referring to. If not, my mistake. It's my understanding there are very few "true oil" finishes out there.

Al

Common brands of finish that are wiping varnish:

Formby’s Tung Oil Finish
Zar Wipe-on Tung Oil
Val-Oil
Hope’s Tung Oil Varnish
Gillespie Tung Oil
Waterlox
General Finishes’ Sealacell
General Finishes’ Arm R Seal
Daly’s ProFin
Jasco Tung Oil
Common brands of finish that are oil/varnish blends:
Watco Danish Oil
Deft Danish Oil
Behlen Danish Oil
Maloof Finish
Behr Scandinavian Tung Oil Finish
Minwax Tung Oil Finish
Minwax Antique Oil Finish
Velvit Oil
Behlen Salad Bowl Finish
Behlen Teak Oil
Watco Teak Oil

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So when you say oil. Are you talking about linseed and tung?

Linseed oil is always labeled linseed oil, so far as I know. There are two types: raw and boiled. Raw linseed oil takes weeks to cure. Boiled linseed oil has driers added to make it cure in about a day with the excess removed. I know of no interior use for raw linseed oil.

Real tung oil has a distinct smell that clearly separates it from wiping varnish and oil/varnish blends, both of which have a varnish-like smell. Only if you are willing to go through the extra work for the increased water resistance you get in a non-building finish should you use real tung oil.
Linseed oil and tung oil are always sold full strength, so if “petroleum distillate” or “mineral spirits” is listed as an ingredient, this is a clue that the finish is either wiping varnish or oil/varnish blend. To tell the difference between these two you’ll have to pour some of the finish onto a non-porous surface, such as glass or Formica, and let the finish cure for a couple of days at room temperature. If it cures fairly hard and smooth, it is wiping varnish. If it wrinkles badly and is soft, it is a blend of oil and varnish.

Al

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